Rehabilitation – week 6 – Stephen Daniels

Rehabilitation – week 6

take my arm and press, open this door and pull the handle,

pull the handle, pull the hand, drag the door, open, move

and keep hold of hand, let loose grip of fingers, thump

your arms and march, bruises ask questions, of the pressure,

fingers resist, sit down, chair takes weight and force up,

push up, resist upwardly mobile, on the floor, horizontal

legs not upright, and scramble, twist arms, through routine

moves and spin, in a corner and brace legs, from laying,

precise legs, scratched in dust, scrape tiles, take tiles

and prise them, snap tiles, arm in hand, resist arm in arm,

resist, on face and leg on tile, and arm in fist, clutch at door

handles and turn away, toes on tiles, lose grip, toes on tiles,

shove, slip, toes on tiles, slip toes, on tiles, slip.

Stephen Daniels is the editor of 

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‘Tell Mistakes I Love Them’ – Stephen Daniels (V. Press)

Ben Banyard

I’ve enjoyed reading Stephen Daniels’ poems whenever they’ve popped up in magazines and on websites, including a couple that I published on Clear Poetry, so I was delighted to hear that he’d teamed up with the excellent V. Poetry to publish this, his debut pamphlet.

tmilt Tell Mistakes I Love Them – Stephen Daniels (V. Press)

Like V. Press’ other publications, it’s beautifully designed. The bright orange cover is instantly eye-catching, and is amber used as a warning of some kind? The cover image too is thoughtful and memorable – an idealised couple where the man is scratched out.

The collection kicks off in style with ‘Four-minute warning’ – it’s a useful way to ease yourself into Daniels’ slightly surreal and unpredictable style:

Drop the children
Fold the tea
Cook the cutlery
Iron the rug

Nothing is as it should be, and we wait with baited breath to find the…

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Three Drops from a Cauldron: Issue 13 (March 2017)

Three Drops from a Cauldron

Happy spring, readers, writers, and other good people. (Or happy autumn to our friends in the southern hemisphere.) This month we’re pleased to bring you our usual blend of the surreal, the beautiful, and the terrible as expressed in myth and folklore. If you’ve come here looking for those things, you won’t be disappointed.

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Two poems from Stephen Daniels’ forthcoming pamphlet, Tell mistakes I love them

The Poetry Shed

One hand on the steering wheel


the screen sprung with light
the vibrate function alerted with each chant
was the message missing a colon

or was it your way of telling me that this was closed
I waited for a correction     a meaningful emoji
each second a social media minute     until I asked you


expecting you to lol     or haha     even correct me
with a knowing semi-colon P
reassure my twitching digits

when we first met     I warned your distracted eyes
watched every reach towards the dashboard
your fingers performing – – a silhouette from the hazard lights


you left me with a closed bracket
an unfinished spasm


Surface tension

The ocean leaves me uncomfortable,
sea-sick sway, centre of a swell. Below
my family, twisted amphibians ,
snap at intimacy, check each hollow,
staunchly defend underground ancestors.

In single file they chart currents, display
their hearse…

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Pyromaniac – by Stephen Daniels

Algebra Of Owls

When I was three I lit a newspaper
through the grate in the gas heater.
I threw it close to the bin, next to the sofa.
Near my new-born brother.
I remember smoke a toddler deep,
mum’s screams lifted us up
and the sofa apologised.

It continued when I was 5
with a patch work arrangement
on the carpet. An obsessed child
can sprint surprisingly quickly,
moving from each heated exchange,
singeing existence with each pile.

At 7, there appeared to be a problem.
A back garden heap of black bags,
cackle and send smoke
signals to neighbours –
that shouldn’t be ignored.

8 years old is an odd age.
It’s when you become aware
of those around you –
and their desire to hurt you.
A hedge is a suitable victim
for ritualistic retaliation.
Sometimes a stare is enough.

9 is when they label you.
It’s when you visit

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‘This is a song about Susan’ – NaPoWriMo Day 30

‘This is a song about Susan’

Their meeting was smoke-filled,
dry-ice eye contact
across a room of hair rippling

to a continuous bass beat.
Her scent was paradise city
and his moves were all that she wants.

His mind was nearer everlong than hers.
She flirted with Morten Harket
and his take on me charm.

I watched their clumsy hand in my pocket fumbles,
and took a sip of my I will always love you tonic.
Then I was Alone again (naturally).